DESTIN, Fla. -- There’s a chance, although Kirby Smart wouldn’t say it, that Jonathan Ledbetter isn’t suspended when Georgia begins its 2016 season.
Initially announced to be serving a one-game suspension due to an arrest in late March, Ledbetter could wind up competing against North Carolina on Sept. 3 if he completes the internal discipline assigned to him. Ledbetter’s case was recently dismissed from Athens-Clarke County State Court after it was determined the officer who arrested him did not have probable cause to approach and detain him outside of the Silver Dollar Bar on March 20.
Asked, and later pressed, about Ledbetter’s potential suspension, Smart wouldn’t confirm that he would still be suspended.
“We’ll find out about the first game,” Smart said.
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Georgia announced a one-game suspension for Ledbetter shortly after his arrest, which is mandated by the university when a student-athlete violates an alcohol-related policy. But since Ledbetter’s case is no longer in the legal system, perhaps there’s now some wiggle room to avoid a suspension.
Ledbetter is expected to have a bigger role this season up front. During spring practices, Ledbetter was working in with the first team and could still wind up as a starter whenever he first steps on the field this season. In 2015, Ledbetter recorded four tackles in seven games.
Smart also touched on the potential discipline to Julian Rochester and Chad Clay, who were both arrested in early April for felony possession of a weapon, a BB gun, and criminal damage to property. Smart has yet to state whether a suspension is upcoming. He did say they are also being “disciplined internally” and that the legal process has to complete itself before a final determination is made.
Smart noted that Juwuan Briscoe, who was arrested for driving without a valid license, is in the same boat. Smart hasn’t decided if Briscoe will be suspended for the North Carolina game yet as he completes the disciplinary measures assigned to him.
“Each one of those kids is serving their punishment and doing what they’ve got to do in order to be where we want them to be, which is out there in the fall,” Smart said.